Lost was a seminal television series that changed the face of network offerings. Steeped in mystery, staffed with a large cast, questioning human nature and philosophy, the show took six years to play out, sometimes doling out the clues in tidbits, other times in waves.
When it came to an end in 2010, whether fans loved the ending or hated it, many were saddened. Why not? They devoted years of their lives watching the show, countless hours debating it with their friends, and became extremely invested in the characters. Losing such a treasure is a big blow, and not one easily recoverable. It takes a very, very special series to replace such a loss.
I believe that Once Upon a Time has the potential to be that replacement.
How can I say that, considering that the beginning of both shows are quite different? On their faces, one is a modern day tale about a group of strangers trapped on an island, while the other involves fairy tale characters traversing world and possessing magic. And yet, there is so much the two have in common. While Once Upon a Time fervor may not yet have hit Lost heights, it still can, especially if it continues to travel the same path, and as more viewers discover it online and on disc.
Some of these similarities are obvious. Both shows air(ed) on ABC. They share producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis. Both count Emilie de Ravin among their stars and Alan Dale as a recurring, but vital, player. One of the most beloved actors from Lost, Jorge Garcia, recently guest starred on Once Upon a Time. Both delight in surprising the fans, making quick turns that change the game.
But it goes deeper than that, by far. For one thing, both deal with differing personalities within the same person, and how these people present themselves to the world. When we meet John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) on the island, he seems confident and sure of himself, not afraid to take a leadership position. Then we learn his back story, and see what has led him to this moment, discovering he was once a very different person, but is now embracing the new Locke. Yet, he is still not done growing. Similarly, Regina (Lana Parrilla) is an evil Mayor / Queen, who has a past that has changed her into this person, which she embraces. Until she doesn't.